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Review: The Emotiva UMC-200 AV preamp/processor offers benchmark performance. For under $600, you get the latest HD audio format support, analog audio path for purists and fast HDMI switching.
The 250wpc Emotiva XPA-1L switchable Class A and AB mono amplifier is meant for the audiophile that also wants to conserve on energy for non critical listening.
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Inexpensive. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Fluance. For those unfamiliar with the name, Fluance was established up in the Great White North (aka Canada) in 1999, and since their debut they have been known for building extremely inexpensive but good quality loudspeakers. The speaker we'll be looking at today is the Fluance ES1, a slim floorstanding model priced at $450/pair and boasting a quartet of woofers per side. While not exactly dirt cheap, the ES1 appears to pack a lot of punch for the dollar. How does it stand up to a cursory examination from the Audioholics? Read on to find out.
The original Geneva Lab Model S was an award winning iPod dock. The new Geneva Lab Model S Wireless gets rid of the dock and adds Bluetooth 2.1 compatibility for use with all smartphones. Sure, you still need to plug it into a wall but it will connect to your device without you having to plug it in. Those without iDevices are sure to be glad to hear that Geneva Lab went with Bluetooth rather than AirPlay. We're interested to see how this new Model S Wireless speaker will sound. With a "we'll believe it when we hear it" specified response down the 75Hz, FM Radio with alarm, and 3.5mm input, there is something for everyone. Everyone looking for a $300 retro-chic clock radio that is.
The $1000 Integra Audio DTR-30.5 Wireless AV Receiver is a first for the company. It is not only Wi-Fi compatible, but Bluetooth is supported. Marvell Qdeo upconversion and scaling to 4K, MHL, InstaPreview, and more should appeal to those that care more about features than power. But, of course, the Integra DTR-30.5 has power as well. With 95 watts per channel, a two-way RS-232 port, legacy video connections, and three 12 volt triggers, installers are going to love this receiver. At $1000, consumers aren't going to be afraid of the price. Add in the savings from having to run an Ethernet cable to you home theater, and the Integra DTR-30.5 may be a home run for the company.
Surround channels present a tricky value proposition for audio lovers; on the one hand, their importance in immersing one in a movie or song is undeniable; on the other hand, they undeniably play second fiddle to the front stage. Priced at $200, the Fluance XLBP Wide Dispersion Bipolar Surround Speaker aims to deliver solid performance at a very reasonable price. How does it stand up to an initial inspection from Audioholics? Read on to find out.
What if you could fit an entire high resolution DAC into a USB thumb drive? That's what M2Tech's hiFace DAC promises and delivers. This DAC redefines compact. It's just 8.8" deep by 1.4" high and 2" wide (basically, the size of a USB stick). The hiFace DAC was designed to deliver hi-end equipment performance to budget-conscious audiophiles. And M2Tech claims to do it without compromising audio quality. The hiFace DAC costs $295, but with this little DAC you can turn your laptop, Mac Mini or even an iPad into a hi-end music file source—and you can do so for about the price of an overpriced active HDMI or premium speaker cable.
Not to be outdone by rivals, Sony has updated its packaged home theater system lineup for 2013, with the BDV-N8100W Premium 3D Blu-Ray HT System leading the charge. Priced at $699.99, which is less than the cost of a foot of some snake oil infused speaker wire, Sony has packed a veritable cornucopia of features into their latest and greatest home theater package, including a 3D capable Blu-Ray player, 4K upscaling, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Of course with so many features packed in for the money, how good could the audio experience be? Read on to find out what we think.
How far can you possibly squeeze $400 in the world of audio? Sony hopes to show this sum can deliver quite a lot with their HT-CT660 sound bar plus wireless subwoofer system. With a slim profile to complement a larger flat screen TV and a useful set of connectivity options including 3 HDMI inputs (which pass 3D and 4K content) and NFC (near field communication), the Sony HT-CT660 looks to be an interesting option for those who want an easy to set up system with minimal clutter. Read on to find out how it stands up to a little scrutiny.
Koss's new Fit Series headphones with the KEB32 FitBuds and KSC32 FitClip earbuds are built in conjunction with Olympian Dara Torres just for women. If you're a woman that is looking for a headphone that you can wear while exercising, the FitBuds and FitClips are sweat resistant. They are smaller than normal earbuds for a perfect fit. They boast a number of colors and a price tag that will let you mix and match if that is your thing. While we think the market for smaller earbuds extends beyond women, for now, the KEB32 FitBuds and KSC32 FitClips are pretty much the only offering we know of. We look forward to seeing how these earbuds perform.
The Boston Acoustics A360 floorstanding loudspeakers are well built and look good at $800/pair. High quality parts are used in the cabinet construction and the drivers are decent quality. Although the measured sensitivity is on the low side and the midrange a bit recessed, the A360’s exhibit nice bass extension. I envision that Boston Acoustics designed this speaker to please the masses and I think it is excellent in that regard. This is our first review employing our new loudspeaker measurement standard so check out how we put the Boston A360’s through the wringer.
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